House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (MN-7) joined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Sec. Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer along with other members of the committee in an executive roundtable on U.S. agricultural trade policy. Following the roundtable, Chairman Conaway, Ranking Member Peterson, Sec. Perdue and Amb. Lighthizer released the below remarks:
“We appreciated the opportunity to have Amb. Lighthizer and Sec. Perdue meet with the committee to underscore the critical importance of trade to the U.S. agricultural economy. Given that agriculture is one of the few areas where the U.S. enjoys a positive balance of trade, we’re eager to work together to continue building on our hard-fought gains. It was also encouraging to hear Amb. Lighthizer express the importance of holding our trading partners accountable, and I look forward to working with him and Sec. Perdue to secure even better deals for America’s farmers, ranchers, and foresters,” said Chairman Conaway.
“This roundtable was an opportunity for the committee to hear directly from both Sec. Perdue and Amb. Lighthizer to gain a better understanding of the administration’s plans for agriculture trade. We need to ensure that agriculture is treated fairly in any future trade deals. I take both Sec. Perdue and Amb. Lighthizer at their word that any trade deals will only expand agriculture exports and not take them backward,” said Ranking Member Peterson.
“With the global population expected to hit nine billion by 2050, the U.S. is going to have a major role in feeding a growing and hungry world. At USDA, we like to tell our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers: You grow it, and we’ll sell it. Trade is going to be such an important part of American agriculture, we created an undersecretary for trade at the USDA. Working with President Trump, Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross, Amb. Lighthizer, and our leadership on Capitol Hill, we will help open up new markets and expand existing ones. Because where American agricultural products can compete on a level playing field, they will succeed and lead the way,” said Sec. Perdue.
“I’m honored to meet with the members of the House Agriculture Committee and Sec. Perdue to further our discussions about protecting and expanding U.S. agricultural exports around the world. America’s farmers and ranchers are second to none, and they have my commitment to fight unfair trade practices and grow more export opportunities. From family farms to food and beverage manufacturing jobs, truly free and fair agricultural trade raises wages and fuels our economy, and I look forward to continuing the conversation and building upon our discussions today,” said Amb. Lighthizer.